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Inland Empire Business News for April 1.002
Inland Empire Business News for April 1.002

Steve Adams Discusses Affordable Care Act with Local Doctors

On August 4, Riverside City Councilman and congressional candidate Steve Adams took the time to meet with several doctors in Riverside County. His goal was to learn how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had affected their practices, specifically in regards to their ability to care for patients. What he learned, he found shocking.

When speaking to Adams, the physicians confirmed what many in Riverside County already knew: that patients who had healthcare plans they liked before the ACA were forced to the state exchange because their insurance companies were compelled to cancel them. “Many insurance companies found that complying with the ACA made the plans they offered to be too costly,” Adams said. “Those companies canceled many of their policies, which left countless patients to the mercy of state exchanges such as Covered California.”

Doctors told Adams that media reports do not accurately convey the gravity of the large jump in healthcare costs once a patient is forced onto the state exchange. “What I learned from these doctors is that a patient’s new ACA plan can cost anywhere from 40% to 80% more than they were paying their old insurance company,” he said. “The ACA’s lowest cost plans come with the highest deductibles, some as high as $10,000.” In a video posted online, Adams added, “Who has that kind of money? In effect, you really don’t have insurance – you become a cash patient.”

What Doctors Told Steve Adams

One of the doctors who met with Adams expanded on the dilemma consumers face when they sign up on the state exchange. Speaking of the four plan levels that are presented at the time a person signs up, Dr. Jim Clover said, “The worst thing possible is to buy the low end when you don’t have any money. You can’t match (the deductible) up,” he said. “It’s impossible.”

In some instances, physicians said, patients believe they have purchased an ACA policy, only to find out later that they are not insured. “Just because they are applying online doesn’t mean they have insurance,” said Dr. V. Prabhu Dhalla, another doctor who met with Adams. “They may have paid one month’s premium, and maybe they are insured for a month.” He then described a scenario in which a patient believed he was insured, obtained treatment, and then learned later that he was not insured. “They were better off not having insurance, because they could walk into the ER and get everything done. Now they have quasi-insurance that really doesn’t give them much benefit.”

Under ACA, Requests for Treatment are Being Rejected 

Furthermore, Adams learned, the ACA has led to doctors seeing more rejections when they request medical treatment, medications and medical equipment from insurers. “Before the ACA, we all heard stories of people being denied care,” Adams said. “The law was supposed to be a remedy for that; instead, it has only made things worse. Insurers can’t afford to reimburse doctors for many of the things that used to be standard healthcare services.”

What Adams Concluded

The meeting between Adams and the physicians was one that the candidate described as nothing short of eye-opening. “The Affordable Care Act is hurting our healthcare professionals,” Adams said. “How can they treat patients if they are bankrupt? This is what happens when Congress is told to ‘pass a bill so that you can find out what’s in it,’ as Ms. Pelosi infamously said.”

At the local level, Adams believes that forced acceptance of the ACA is something Riverside County should reject. “The Affordable Care Act is important for the people and for the region,” Adams said. “Everyone who has health insurance is affected by it. We need to make sure that the policies coming from Washington, D.C. fulfill the needs of the residents of Riverside County.”

Adams has posted a brief video from his meeting, which can be viewed here.

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